Crux Cigar Company – Bull & Bear
2014 marked a year full of awards, recognition, and accolades for Crux Cigar Company. The Passport and Classic both found their way on to my Top 10 Cigars of 2014 list, and several other offerings from Crux Cigars received notable recognitions from the online cigar media community. Today, I will be reviewing the Bull & Bear for you reading pleasure. Including this review, the Casas Fumando crew has reviewed all the lines currently available from Crux Cigar Company. You can find the other reviews below:
Produced in Esteli, Nicaragua at Plasencia Cigar S.A., the Bull & Bear is a Nicaraguan puro available in two vitolas that are on the larger end of the ring gauge spectrum (in my opinion). Options include a Robusto Extra (5 1/2 by 55) and Gordo (6 by 60 Marblehead). The Bull & Bear is one of the higher priced offering from the company, but still falls in the sweet spot around $8.
Samples Provided by Crux Cigar Company
Vitola: Robusto Extra
Size: 5 ½ by 55
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano (Jalapa)
Filler: Nicaraguan (Condega, Esteli, Jalapa, & Ometepe)
Smoke Time: 1 Hour and 25 Minutes
The Bull & Bear sports a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper that shows off all of the natural characteristics of the leaf with veins webbing from the foot to the head, dark water spots and color imperfections, and bumps here and there. Oils glisten off the medium to dark wrapper leaf that has a deep red hue. Faint, pungent notes of wet cedar, barnyard, and earth are found on the wrapper, while a much more rich (dry) cedar is found on the foot of the cigar, along with some dried fruit notes.
The foot appears slightly underfilled, but when pinched it gives only minimally. A perfect draw is revealed with only a shallow cut through the cap. There’s rich cedar at the front of the cold draw, joined with a marshmallow-like sweetness, potpourri spices, and some floral notes. Based on the cold draw, I am ready to fire up the Bull & Bear by Crux Cigar Company.
Right off the bat, the flavors are full, deep, and rich. Before even looking into the blend, the first few puffs made me think of Habano and Jalapa tobaccos. Sure enough, as noted above, this cigar is full of Habano tobacco from the Jalapa Valley. The reason those tobaccos came to mind was from the sweet woodsy notes and pepper spice the greeted my palate as soon as the cigar was lit. Trust me, it is extremely rare for me to pinpoint any tobaccos, so this cigar showcases the distinct flavors of the region and the seed varietal very well. At about an inch in, wet earth shows up. The retrohale highlights some bright pepper notes that has a medium-spice. The thick, somewhat wavy burn is leaving behind a light grey, firm ash.
The flavors remain full as I burn into the middle third of the Bull & Bear. The pepper and sweet woodsy notes continue to make up the core of the profile, but the overall flavors have become much more bright on the palate. A very clean, honey-sweetness has joined the mix and every once in a while some earth and toasted notes pop in.
* In one of the samples I smoked, the smoke production and flavors dropped significantly as I made my way into the second third. The sudden drop was similar to cigars that I have smoked with tunneling issues. Knocking off the ash, I did not see any signs of tunneling. Quickly putting a flame to the foot of the cigar brought back the satisfying smoke and flavors. I assume all the tobaccos were not burning evenly or some distinguished.
As I move into the last third, the most notable transition has taken place as the flavors move from the bright notes in the second third to deeper, richer flavors to close out the cigar. The pepper spice and earth have moved to forefront of the profile, while some cocoa is now lingering on the finish of the smoke. The sweet woodsy notes are still holding strong but behind the other flavors. The flavors are definitely full and the strength sitting in the medium/full range.
Crux Cigar Company’s Bull & Bear is another fine offering. While I rarely smoke cigars over 52 – 54 ring gauge, this Robusto Extra, coming in at 5 1/2 by 55, never felt uncomfortable in the hand or mouth. The cigar evolved in each third but it never lost its identity made up with sweet woodsy notes and pepper spice. Each sample I smoked delivered consistent profiles, but one performed exceptional in the area of performance with its burn and smoke production, while the other rated only fair. For a price around $8, I can recommend a box-slit of the Bull & Bear.